Wild mushroom and asparagus salad

I have just returned from a weekend at the Coachella music festival, which was great fun, though I am now utterly exhausted. The healthiest thing I ate there was the amazing ‘mothertrucker’ vegan burger from The Green Truck which was serving great food in one of the festival beer gardens. When I wasn’t eating burgers it was beer, chips, pizza – wonderful for a weekend off, but not exactly the kind of food that leads to long-lasting health or slimness. So I got back craving something healthy – something without cheese melted on it.

This recipe is extremely simple, but also pretty delicious, and there is a lot you can do to modify it – I will probably add toasted pine nuts next time I make it, you could substitute the rocket (arugula) for baby spinach etc. It is a good side salad, but if you are looking for something light I think it makes a very acceptable main meal.

Wild Mushroom and Asparagus Salad

(Serves 2)

100g (3.5 oz) asparagus (about half a bunch)

120g (4oz) wild mushrooms (I used a pre-chopped packet containing baby bella, shiitake and oyster mushrooms, but usually I just chop up a bunch of shiitakes)

3 cups of rocket (arugula)

1 shallot

2 cloves of garlic

40g (1.5oz) goats cheese

1 tbs olive oil

1 tbs salted butter

Salt

Break off the hard stems of the asparagus, and slice the shallot. Heat 1 tbs olive oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat, and add the asparagus and a big pinch of salt. Cook until you see the asparagus darken a bit (they are delicious when the heads are almost burnt and crispy) and then add the shallot, turning the heat down to medium and stirring occasionally. When asparagus is brown in places and the shallot is soft and smelling wonderful, take off the heat. (Around 10-15 minutes)

While the asparagus is cooking, wash and roughly chop the mushrooms, removing the hard stems if you are using shiitakes. Dry well (if you put wet mushrooms in a frying pan they will just steam rather than fry). Finely dice the garlic cloves. Place the butter in a second frying pan on medium heat, and the garlic, the mushrooms and a big pinch of salt, stirring occasionally. Cook the mushrooms until they start looking golden and then take off the heat. (Around 10-15 minutes)

Divide the rocket (arugula) between two plates, add asparagus, bits of crumbled up goats cheese and the mushrooms. If you want you can add a light dressing, or a dash of olive oil, but I think you have enough oil and flavour from the fried vegetables not to need any.

Calories per serve: 178*

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 *So I have just started using a calorie counter app for the iPhone. I know it is a bit ridiculous, but it does allow you to (roughly) calculate the calories in any recipe, and I thought some people might find this interesting – at least for the ‘healthier’ recipes I post. If this kind of thing appeals to you, enjoy it now – I doubt it will last…

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